KU wins grant of nearly $1.5 million to share stories of marginalized communities

The Hall Center for Humanities at KU.

The University of Kansas has been awarded a grant of of nearly $1.5 million to share the stories of marginalized communities through digital media, according to a news release Thursday from KU.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded KU’s Hall Center for the Humanities, in partnership with KU’s Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities, a three-year grant of $1,478,000 to support a digital storytelling project that will work with community and KU partners to recover marginalized and suppressed histories.

The project, called “Stories for All,” will involve more than 40 partner projects, roughly half of which originate in community initiatives and the other half from within KU. It will address the “opportunities, challenges, ethics and politics of storytelling in the digital era,” according to the release.

A variety of storytelling strategies will be used, including oral histories, social media posts, online writing contests, videos, blogs, interactive maps, long-form documentaries, online companions, art installations and place-based storytelling. Conversations will take place in locations throughout Lawrence and the region to foster an expansive storytelling community, the release said.

“The advent of digital technology has enhanced the power of stories to reach broad audiences and to serve exclusion or inclusion, privilege or social justice, while the costs and technical demands involved in digital storytelling have created new inequities and barriers alongside preexisting ones,” said Richard Godbeer, director of the Hall Center, in the release. “As racial tensions and the pandemic expose anew the inequities within our society, this is a critical time to invest in new and equitable ways to engage in the art of storytelling.”

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